Looking over the electricity use survey, it’s good to see that so many of us are at the low-end of the scale. While we Americans are often criticized for over-consumption, it’s obvious that many of us don’t deserve it. For the most part it’s our leadership that has failed, not the American people. President Bush’s message “America is addicted to oil” strikes me as a shameful attempt to shift the blame from his inept and corrupt administration to the American people. We should expect our government to recognize problems and provide better solutions, but clearly they’ve let us down. Too much federal money supports oil and coal interests, while little goes to renewable energy projects. I’m tired of politicians who claim to care, but don’t act as if they do.
Your efforts to conserve electricity, and your interest in renewable energy technologies, show that you care. Because of your efforts, the world is less polluted, and what remains of the earth’s fossil fuels will last a little longer. People may notice your PV panels, or your windmill, but they probably don’t give much thought to how much your efforts contribute to the quality of their lives.
The decline of fossil fuels will lead to electricity shortages, which will lead to laws restricting the use of electricity. Energy use restrictions will not apply to those who generate their own. Instead of a shortage, you’re likely to have a surplus of electricity from time to time. If you’re feeding that back into the grid, you’ll be compensated financially. If not, you can use that electricity in any way you wish, and think of it as “guilt-free” electricity.
Why we’re Ignored
We use bio-fueled stoves, windmills, PV panels, solar hot water heaters, and a number of other environmentally friendly systems. We talk about our projects with those doing similar things, but seldom with others. Mostly, we’re just ignored. Some are reluctant to discuss renewable energy because they don’t understand the technology, but others shy away from the topic out of feelings of guilt. After all, they see you and I doing much more than they are doing.
Promoting Renewable Energy
While it might be tempting to flaunt a “greener-than-thou” attitude, it’s important to know that successful movements are not powered by guilt, they’re the result of confidence and passion. Be patient, and nonjudgmental, but don’t expect to convert everyone you see. There will always be those who don’t care about anyone or anything but their own selfish interests, and there will always be those who have discretionary income but no discretion.
Pat yourself on the back, enjoy some guilt-free consumption, and get back to work! The world needs you, and is better off because of you.